Monday, January 6, 2014

Downton Abbey Season 4, Episode 1

Downton is back and it feels so good. I can honestly say that there isn't much I love more than British television. The accents fool me into believing that I'm not really just watching a British version of Dynasty or Dallas or 90210. The Brits love drama and mystery and they do it well and with a classy accent. I like to pretend that they don't have reality tv and that the BBC is some sort of tv programming utopia, even though I am fairly certain that Big Brother originated there. 

I have a couple friends who managed to watch the 4th season online with sneaky tactics, but I chose to wait to watch it. Mainly because, as much as I love Downton, I am really too lazy to figure out how to watch it online. When my friend Stella was watching it she would come to me saying, "Oooooh, Claaaaire! This season is SCANDALOUS!" So that is my only spoiler. This season is scandalous. Which is either great information to have or not. I am trying not to let my imagination run away with itself, and last night's episode gave me lots to ponder. 

As usual, if you aren't caught up, stop reading after the photo. More importantly, if you aren't caught up, why are we friends?

Just adding some salt to the wound....couldn't help it. 

First, I want to make a couple observations. One is that this episode was a long two hour episode for us, but was two separate in England. After watching last night and feeling like a few things resolved rather quickly/awkwardly, I realized it was partly because it had been spread over two weeks for them (the other part is because the story sucked, but we will get to that later). Second, take a moment and let it sink in that last season's finale was really the Christmas Special. Merry Christmas, Matthew is dead. Why do you hate Christmas, Julian?

Ok, moving on. 

HOW DARE SHE!? - We open the episode to sweeping views of Downton and someone leaving in the dark of the night/early morning. Everyone is in a major thither when they realize that it was O'Brien. I mean how dare she leave Downton in the lurch, and for a member of the family no less? Scandalous! Has she no decency? No, no she dosen't. We have spent three seasons gasping at the antics of O'Brien and her leaving seems to be the most exciting thing to happen in Downton since, like, ever. It's like no one remembered the time that Mary had a dude die on her during, ahem, sleep or that Edith's fiance left her at the altar or that Ethel got pregnant by a scumbag and had to give up her baby to his parents. 

MOVE ON, MARY - The family is in mourning. Six months have passed and everyone is asking if Mary is ever going to, you know, get over the shock of losing her husband on the day their child was born. Everything seems to have plodded along around her in that time and people are beginning to wonder if Mary will ever be her old self again. Because six months is plenty long enough to mourn the loss of your husband. I understand that having your star be even more monotone than ever for half the season puts a bit of a damper on the storyline, but I kinda feel that a chick should be allowed to be seriously bummed out for longer than six months after her husband dies. ON THE DAY YOUR BABY IS BORN. But, I get it, plotlines and death taxes and stuff. Super important. Besides, monotone Mary is bad enough, mega monotone Mary is enough to make me need to go onto antidepressants. 

THOMAS vs. NANNY - Early in the episode we see Thomas going head to head with the Nanny and I think to myself that ha, here is our new foe, because, surely, after the way Bates did him a solid last season with the job, he will let it rest for Bates and Anna. Damn. Not so much. I did enjoy Nanny and Thomas going at it a bit and would have liked to see that into the next episode at least. When Thomas first went to Cora about how awful Nanny was, I was thinking that Thomas was kind of an ass. Unless I missed another comment in there when she called Sibby a half breed I literally gasped and yelled, "Oh, no she didn't!" much to my husband's amusement. And any fears I had about there not being enough backstabbing to go around once O'Brien left were quickly assuaged by the arrival of Edna. Which brings me to...

EDNA? REALLY? - I have so many angry feels about this, but I must admit, she is going to be an entertaining adversary for the poor Bates'. Those poor, poor Bates'. Cannot catch a break. I predict that Anna gets the sack because Edna and Thomas' evil ways and Rose dragging her into her schemes are going to be her undoing. And Bates will go to because he is a stand up guy, and maybe finally they will get their hotel and babies. I want to see cute little Bates babies! Also, please stop introducing characters with E names. Edna, Ethel, Edith. I have to pull up the character guide to keep them straight! 

YOU CAN DO BETTER FOR CARSON - Carson is really shaping up to be one of my favorite characters. His has actually seen the most growth over the series . He went from cranky curmudgeon to cuddly curmudgeon as he watches his world slowly unraveling around him. He can see the days are numbered in the aristocratic and is taking the punches like a stoic champ. First season Carson would never have called Mary to task and reminded her that grief or not, she has a job to do. Go fourth season Carson! It's probably because of my love for Carson that I feel personally insulted that they gave him the stupidest story arc since cousin Patrick (I'm still mad about that). It was dumb when they had his singing/dancing partner come back the swindle him and it was even dumber that we are supposed to feel sorry for him when Carson cuts him out after he falls on hard times. He's a swindler! Of course he fell on hard times!

"You sang and danced together on stage? Doesn't that mean anything to you at all?" Mrs. Hughes screeched at him and Aaron and I busted up laughing, and then I began to wonder....oooh is that a euphemism for something? Exactly what kind of singing and dancing was this? Is this the scandal? IS CARSON GAY, TOO? Um, no. (Thanks a lot, Stella. Now I'm imagining scandal where there isn't any.) Swindler guy swindled his lady in the gay nineties (or sixties, or whatever) and Carson was real mad, like you would be, and didn't want to talk to him. Meddling Isobel and Mrs. Hughes had to get all up in Carson's business so he could forgive him blah, blah, blah. Carson is so much better than that. Frankly, so are Isobel and Mrs. Hughes. To use their characters in a contrived story that is basically to get them airtime is lame. 


There is so much else, but these are the things that really jumped out at me. What about you? Also, I want to hear your wild predictions in the comments1

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